BOM promises farmers better seasonal forecasting

Better forecasting technology is more than just a whisper on the breeze, with the BOM’s new supercomputer set to be operational by the end of the year.

Better forecasting technology is more than just a whisper on the breeze, with the BOM’s new supercomputer set to be operational by the end of the year.

Farmers and growers often find themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature, but her movements are about to become easier to predict with improved seasonal forecasting.

The Bureau of Meteorology will invest $3.3 million to improve the accuracy and frequency of seasonal projections in order to aid agriculturalists in Australia.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the new technology aims to give farmers more accurate and localised forecasting information.

“Accurate, detailed and frequent climate outlooks are a vital tool for our farmers in managing risk and informing business decisions, supporting better returns at the farmgate,” said Minister Joyce.

“It’s been estimated that the potential value to the agriculture sector of improved seasonal forecasts is more than $1 billion each year.”

While currently relying on infrequent monthly updates, farmers can look forward to weekly forecasts at a higher modelling resolution.

The technology behind the climate clairvoyance is a sophisticated new ‘supercomputer’ that is expected to be up and running later this year.

Living in the world’s most variable climate, Australian farmers stand to benefit most from access to the information provided by the new technology.

“It is expected that improvements in outlook accuracy from the project will give our farmers access to the world’s best seasonal outlooks for Australia,” says Minister Joyce.

“Farmers and other users will be better prepared to manage the fluctuations and extremes [of the Australian climate],” says Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.

The forecasts will allow growers to not only make strategic decisions about future planting but will also provide them will information on how best to manage existing crops.

From drought to thunderstorms, the news provides a slice of hope for farmers who have had to deal with weather extremes over the past year.